Ladders and Nets
The following statement in a comment from Marshmallow:
â€¦ when people propose things like affirmative action to give some down-and-out folks a leg up, it always seems like it's a bunch of white conservatives who stand in the way â€¦
Was posted in a comment, and has inspired the following ...
What tripe. Affirmative action translates into handouts, as often as not. Black conservatives, Asian and Hispanic conservatives, conservatives of all colors reject, government sponsored transfers of wealth (handouts). The issue is not the skin color but philosophy.
Personally, I am all for giving someone a leg up, so long as they do something with the head start. With the rolling out of the 'Great Society' programs under Johnson and Nixon, the government has been singularly unsuccessful when it comes to helping people get out of poverty. The 'New Dealâ€™ of the â€˜30s, Franklin Rooseveltâ€™s legacy, was an update of the 'Square Dealâ€™ developed by Theodore Roosevelt at the turn of the 20th century. Both of these programs had far more targeted objectives than the â€˜Great Societyâ€™ programs of the â€˜60s. The earlier programs were safety nets for the poor and unfortunate.
The â€˜Great Societyâ€™ programs were designed to provide a ladder out of poverty. As such, they were structured differently, and incentives reflected the different dynamic. This nation hurled trillions at the problem of poverty; when money like that is expended, an expanded percentage of poor is not a positive result. The problem with ladders, as opposed to nets, is one must choose to climb the ladder.
Senator Moynahan, (D)-NY, commented 30 years ago on the trend started in the â€˜70s, in which even during an economic upswing, the percentage of people on the welfare roles continued to rise. He saw that as a disturbing trend.
What is interesting is that the welfare reform of the â€™90s has led to a downward trend in the percentage of people on welfare. This trend continued even during the economic downswing we went through at the beginning of this presidency. Reform thus far appears to have given incentives for people to take a job instead of a handout.
This as an optimal trend, for it is through work, not handouts, that one can truly free oneself from poverty. The old â€˜protestant work ethicâ€™ is a better model for defeating poverty than the socialism of the â€˜Great Society.â€™
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